Bowers & Wilkins P5 Wireless
Jul 1, 2015 at 12:12 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 127

Bananas Ananas

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Bowers & Wilkins P5 Wireless, released July 1st, 2015, is the first wireless headphones offered by British audio company Bowers & Wilkins. Main features include 17-hour battery life, bluetooth 4.1 connectivity supporting aptX, AAC, and SBC codecs, and conveniently replaceable ear pads. They weight just 213g, which is much less than many competitors (i.e. B&O H8 weights 255g). 
 
MSRP: $399.99
 

 
Features
- Bluetooth 4.1
- Rechargeable lithium battery
- Nylon damped diaphragm
- Damping foam
- CCAW coil
 
Drivers
- 2x 40mm Full range
 
Frequency range
- 10Hz - 20kHz
 
Impedance
- 22 ohms (passive)
 
Distortion (THD)
- <0.4% (1KHz/10mW)
 
Sensitivity
- 109dB/V at 1kHz
 
Inputs
- 3.5mm stereo mini jack (CTIA 4-pole)
- Micro USB 2.0 (Charging, Service, Firmware Updates)
- 2x Microphones
 
Bluetooth Codecs
- aptX (standard latency)
- AAC
- SBC
 
Weight
- 213g
 
Reviews:
9to5mac
What Hi-Fi?
TechAdvisor
Cnet
Digital Trends
  Here are my brief impressions of P5 Wireless after short listening:
 
All the listening I have done with P5 Wireless has been in wireless mode and thus I’m not going to compare how do they sound wireless versus wired. After all, why would one buy wireless to listen with a wire when wired can be had for $100 less. Music I listen to is streamed from Apple Music (supposedly 256kbps AAC) through either iTunes on 13” Macbook Pro (Early 2015, OS X 10.11 Beta) or Music app on iPhone 6 (iOS 9.0 Beta). My choice of wireless headphones and listening equipment probably confirms that I’m not very hardcore audiophile.
 
Connectivity:
 
P5 Wireless was easy to pair to both of my devices. On the bottom of the right side of the headphones there is a power switch / bluetooth button. Sliding the switch turns headphones on and off and pressing the button for 2 seconds brings P5 Wireless to pairing mode. First thing you pair P5 Wireless to becomes a “master device” and short press of the bluetooth button will connect to this device. With other paired devices it is required to go to bluetooth settings and reconnect whenever you want to use headphones, but going through pairing process is not necessary. According to B&W, P5 Wireless can remember 8 devices at once, but I do not have more than 2 so I can’t confirm this.
 
After connection is established in between of device and P5 Wireless the connection is very solid. Connection does not stutter or anything until I go to the opposite corner from an iPhone or Macbook Pro in small/mid-size Floridian home with pretty open floor plan. I doubt there will be any issues with the connection in any normal situations. While connected it is also possible to control music playback with volume up, down, and play/pause buttons. They work well, but I prefer to control through the device I’m using instead. 
 
Design:
 
Aesthetics are very subjective thing, but I personally like the way P5 Wireless looks and feels. They’re mostly made out of leather and metals, but rather than having chrome ring familiar from P5 and P5 S2 in between of ear pad and ear cup there’s a black plastic ring, which accommodates all the buttons. I’m not too big fan of plastic, but this strip seems sturdy enough and is probably a necessity to achieve stable bluetooth connection. 
 
These are also pretty comfortable headphones for me to use–more comfortable than P5 or P5 S2. However, since I’d rank P5 to be the least comfortable and P5 Wireless to be most comfortable, I suspect that my head is just getting more used to the feel of these headphones over time and they’re in fact just about equally comfortable when compared to each other. Regardless, although I don’t have much experience with my P5 Wireless I bet I can wear them for long hours without significant discomfort.
 
Sound:
 
Unfortunately sound is the hardest thing for me to really review since I have nothing really to compare these to. Of course I have had some other headphones too outside of B&W offerings, but it has been so long ago that I can’t possibly remember their sound. Additionally, I have nothing to do direct comparison with since I always sell, dispose, recycle, or give away my previous stuff before buying new. In fact, besides some furniture, all of my stuff fits in the cargo area of Mustang, so I really don’t have too much stuff… 
 
Regardless of lack of comparison I can still say though that P5 Wireless sounds very good. Judging by the sound I couldn’t really tell they are in fact a wireless pair of headphones. Mid frequencies are probably their strongest point and vocals sound fantastic. Highs are pretty good too, but sometimes a bit too bright to me. I personally set EQ to bring highs slightly down. Bass in these headphones is something I like very much too. To me it feels like that the bass would be “under” or “behind” the vocals, while still having quite good presence. Out of my memory P5 Wireless bass seems to be less powerful than it was on P5 S2, but I can still very much enjoy EDM and other bass heavy music I tend to listen to.



 
  Sound has changed quite a bit after using more of these headphones. It might be due to mysterious burn-in, which I do not really believe in that much, or ear pads have now had more time to form a shape better to my ears. It may also be just me getting used to the sound, but again, I used to own P5 S2, which sounded almost the same to what P5 Wireless has now become.
 
Anyway, bass has now got off of the background and instead is very present in the listening experience. I love the bass of these headphones now as I did with P5 S2 too. In the beginning treble was too sparkly or sibilant, but now it's no longer an issue. Mid frequencies are still fantastic and the vocal reproduction of these headphones is hard to beat. Soundstage is not too big, but it's sufficient or even great for an on-ear headphone.
 
All in all, I'd recommend these headphones to just about anyone looking to drop $399.99 for their listening experience. While many wired options might be more accurate sounding, P5 Wireless is joy to listen to with wireless convenience. Finally, these also sound great from any modern bluetooth capable source, so buyer doesn't have to worry about impedances or other technical stuff–they just work! I bet that simplicity and convenience with this great sound cannot be beaten by anything on the market today.
 
I think they both have good sq it just depends on what kind of sound signature you prefer. The h8's have more of a V shape where as the p5's are more neutral with more of a mid range focus. The h8's have much more bass emphasis which i feel is a bit too much at times, the p5's have less bass but its much more in balance with the rest if the sound and suits my tastes better. The p5's vocals sound more forward and natural, the h8's can sound a little recessed in the mids and vocals don't always sound natural to my ears. In the treble region the h8's have more sparkle and sound more lively, the p5's sound flatter and smoother. You really cant go wrong with either one when it comes to their actual sound and i would have been happy with the h8 were it not for the connectivity issues. I'm going out later on and i'll take the p5's with me to test out their wireless performance.



 
 
  Just took the p5's out for a walk and the connection held up better than the h8's. I found with the h8's that simply turning my head can interfere with the signal and seeing as the bt reciever is in the right earcup i have to carry my phone in my right pocket or else drop outs are quite frequent. The p5's also have the bt reciever in the right earcup and you do get the the odd bit of interference when carrying your phone in the left pocket but not as bad as the h8. With my phone in my right pocket i had no issue at all. Sadly neither of the two allow you to use the controls when used in wired mode which is a bit annoying but i honestly have a hard time picking up any major difference between wired and wireless mode so i would only use the wire if i happen to run out of battery. One little feature i have really come to like about the h8 is theres no annoying led lights when they're in wireless mode, the p5 does have a small blue led constantly lit on the bottom when in wireless mode which i'm not a fan of.
I'm currently just comparing the h8 wired vs the p5 wired and initially i'm preferring the p5, it just sounds a lot more natural and cohesive overall, the h8 colors the sound a bit too much and whatever is going on in the mids just throws the vocals off too much for my liking.
Twister6
PCMag
iLounge
Tech & Hobby
Engadget
Huffington Post
 
Jul 1, 2015 at 4:31 PM Post #3 of 127

Bananas Ananas

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There's a review out of these headphones at 9to5mac, but it doesn't include much discussion of sound. I'm waiting for my replacement credit card to arrive and then place an order for P5 Wireless and finally hear them. 
smily_headphones1.gif

 
P5 S2 had been my favorite headphones to this date and at least drivers look exactly same on B&W website pictures.
 
Jul 1, 2015 at 11:10 PM Post #4 of 127

Masashiro Tsumi

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I wish they announced these earlier. I ended up buying a pair of Parrot Zik 2 which I love, but I'm a big fan of B&W. I currently also own a pair of P5 and P7, so the P5 wireless would be a great additional. To buy or not to buy, that is the question.
 
Jul 2, 2015 at 6:23 PM Post #7 of 127

Masashiro Tsumi

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Bananas Ananas- Did you order it straight from B&W's website?

LFC_SL- Not a deal breaker for me, adding anything else would have probably make it more bulky. Maybe they can add more functions when they make the P7 Wireless.
 
Jul 2, 2015 at 6:30 PM Post #8 of 127

Bananas Ananas

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Bananas Ananas- Did you order it straight from B&W's website?

LFC_SL- Not a deal breaker for me, adding anything else would have probably make it more bulky. Maybe they can add more functions when they make the P7 Wireless.


Yes. I don't know if they're available from anywhere else. I believe B&W uses UPS ground so I hope to have those headphones on hand later next week. 
smily_headphones1.gif

 
Jul 3, 2015 at 7:00 AM Post #10 of 127

Bananas Ananas

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I'm so jealous. If Best Buy gets them, I might pick up a pair.


I hope you'll be able to find them from Best Buy one day. My closest Best Buy barely carries any quality headphones, so I have entirely given up shopping there. I'd need to drive like 30 miles to get somewhere with anything else than Bose and Beats in stock.

Bowers & Wilkins didn't even ship mine yet, but hopefully they'll be on their way later today!
 
Jul 3, 2015 at 7:27 AM Post #11 of 127

Masashiro Tsumi

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I don't know where you are at but some Best Buy stores have a department called Magnolia. Those stores would carry some higher end audio/video equipment. If anything you can order on-line and have it shipped to your house. If you don't like what you get, just return them to your local store. My local Best Buy store has B&W speakers on display and a small display of all their headphones too.

I wonder if B&W even have the P5 wireless headphones in stock, since it was just announced. I hope you get them soon. Enjoy.
 
Jul 4, 2015 at 8:09 AM Post #12 of 127

Bananas Ananas

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I wonder if B&W even have the P5 wireless headphones in stock, since it was just announced. I hope you get them soon. Enjoy.

 
They probably don't have it in stock since the order didn't ship yet. 
frown.gif
 During checkout I saw the website mentioning that product should be delivered within 2-5 working days, but now that I went back to check again it says 2-5 working days after the product has been shipped. Oh well, hopefully they get them soon in stock.
 
 
Happy 4th of July everyone! 
smily_headphones1.gif
 
 
 
Edit: Actually when I add P5 wireless to basket and proceed to checkout the website displays it should be in stock. I guess they're just slow shippers. 
biggrin.gif
 
 
Jul 6, 2015 at 5:22 AM Post #13 of 127

obsidyen

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I'm between these and Beoplay H8 as my first wireless pair. I'm going to buy from Apple Store, they sell both B&W and B&O products.
 
Jul 6, 2015 at 8:04 AM Post #15 of 127

Bananas Ananas

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  I'm between these and Beoplay H8 as my first wireless pair. I'm going to buy from Apple Store, they sell both B&W and B&O products.


Please report back once you have done comparison! Those two were in my consideration too, but I'm just a fan of B&W P5 S2 so I just went with P5 Wireless and now impatiently waiting for their arrival. I have never heard Beoplay H8, but I don't like how H6 sounds albeit apparently being very different sound signature compared to H8, this still repelled me away from the brand name.
 

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